Ali Edwards Story Camp

I’m at the airport heading home from Ali Edwards Story Camp

and wanted to document my feelings and lessons learned from the event while they’re still fresh on my mind, so here goes…

I’m a fan girl of Ali, so it was a little intimidating coming to one of her events, especially not knowing anyone else. Luckily I’m not afraid to travel by myself, so it was more social anxiety than anything else. I’m an introvert who likes a lot of alone time to recharge my batteries, and I’m quiet at first in social situations. I like to hang back and observe the situation and the people before I open up. I guess that means I don’t just let anyone “in” to my circle of friends, I am deliberate about who I choose! One camper told me that just means it’s an honor to those I let in, like an exclusive club. I like looking at it that way instead of looking at it like I’m shy and don’t make friends easily. It’s more that I don’t need a lot of friends. I’m happy by myself.

Ali said that when she goes to events she usually has one thing that stands out to her more than anything else, so we should be looking for that one thing to take away.

There were a couple of lessons I’m taking away from camp. First, I like the concept that I’m writing a story, literally, and I’m the main character in the story. All the people in my life are supporting characters. I’ve started a “me” album, and I think it would be fun to think of each year of my life like a chapter. Since I’m 45 now, I’m currently in Chapter 45 of my story. I’m going to document a story about me/my life for each one of the story kits that come out.

The second goes along with the first and that is even though I don’t have a lot of control over things that happen in my life, I do have 100% control over how I choose to react, the way that I view what happens, and the words that I tell myself are important. I’m going to choose to look at things in a positive way. If something bad happens, I’m going to try to find the silver lining and focus on that. I’m going to pay attention to the words I’m telling myself. I know that I’m very critical of myself – my inner critic is mean! I’m going to tell her to calm down and be nice. This will be part of my journey with my word, THRIVE, this year.

Another concept I liked was figuring out why it’s import to you to document your story. For me, it’s really an innate thing, something I really feel compelled to do. I don’t have kids, I don’t plan on passing my albums on to anyone else, and I don’t really care if they get thrown in the trash someday. It’s the process that I love. It’s a way to relieve stress and be creative. Ali shared a few of her reasons that I also identify with; I document to remember, to process the events in my life and my feelings about them, for proof that I lived, to see the myself reflected back at me through the lens of the camera (how others see me, what I really look like when I smile, etc.)

The photography workshop was also excellent, it wasn’t a technical workshop, but more about composition – taking photos from different angles, close up, far away, including lines. My favorite tip was that you should include yourself in the photos too. Selfies don’t always have to be straight on, and the camera timer is a great way to include yourself in the photo!

I’m sure as I go back and read the handouts and review my notes, I’ll remember even more gems from the workshops.

One of the best parts of the event was meeting other people who are into memory keeping as much as me. I found my people! Meeting Ali was definitely a highlight!

Five Year Diary

I just completed my 5 year diary for the years 2015 – 2019. Another 5 years of my life gone! There were chunks of time where I didn’t write, simply because what was recorded in the earlier year was too difficult to read – like when my dog Abbie got sick and passed away. I also lost my dog Cassie, who had been with me and my husband since just after we got married, my father-in-law lost his battle with dementia and COPD and passed away during this time.

I celebrated 18 years of marriage! I really can’t believe it’s been that long – but the evidence is there day by day in my diary.

In the past five years I’ve seen the biggest advances in my career. First getting promoted to a manager and then a director. It took (and still takes) so many days of sacrifice and hard work.

I’ve traveled quite a bit – Europe (Croatia, Italy, Spain, France, Malta), Puerto Rico, Alaska, Washington (Seattle), Texas (Dallas), and lots of little trips around AZ, CA, UT, NV, and NM.

The story of my open heart surgery and recovery; the ongoing saga of my health journey, are captured within the pages of this diary.

This book is filled with my life! I love that I can see threads of bigger stories of my life, as well as the everyday mundane moments. Here’s to the next 5 years! 🥂

~ Tonya

October Daily Mini Album

img_7105I love October, it’s my favorite month of the year. I love the change in the weather, all the Fall colors, and the fun festivities. So I decided this year I would document all the thrills and chills of October in a 4×4 mini album!

I started off by putting together a kit of my favorite Halloween craft papers, die cuts and other embellishments. Then I prepped a few pages in my album so I wouldn’t be starting off the album with a blank slate (I always find that just getting started is the hardest part. Once I get going the ideas start to flow). I began snapping photos of our adventures, and then the album really started coming together.

My favorite page is a 3 pocket folder I sewed and hole punched to fit on the rings. The front pocket features a ouija board planchette that I enlarged, printed and cut, and then added a rhinestone to give it more dimension. I then sewed it to the pocket and added a little fortune teller charm. I created a tab to fit in the middle pocket and hidden inside the tag is the story of the aura photo my husband and I had taken! So fun.

I have an October Daily 2019 Playlist on my YouTube channel, and some Instagram posts if you want to see more of this fun and chunky mini album, and get some ideas for your own album. I was going for lots of texture and interactive elements. I’ll be posting a flip through once it’s all complete. So stay tuned!

Wishing you a spooktacular Halloween!

~ Tonya

Want to create a pocket of your own? Here are the supplies I used: